by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ May 7, 2020
Anticipating and then dealing with changes from the SARS CoV-2 pandemic is already the primary social activity of the third decade of the 21st century. I expect it will continue to dominate the center of human society for the next ten years.
This process will evolve as we move through the phases of massive paradigmatic change from shock and awe to experiencing personal, social, and cultural epiphanies. We are experiencing this already with the social rediscovery of time and traditional family skills, solitude, serious questioning of the value of certain activities, the sudden decline of many types of business, and the reactionary stupidity among the groups most threatened by rapid change.
We already know that the past is gone and this is a change beyond our most extreme expectations or fears. Our lives will be, on the horizontal axis, a continually changing mélange of anxiety, surprise, wonder, and growing confidence as the new parameters of planetary society work themselves out. On the vertical axis, our community layers will pull apart, as they are doing already, revealing the glaring nature of past bigotry and various forms of unjustified privilege.
These structural failures will be brought into sharp focus by the sudden juxtaposition of random pieces as the old structures shatter under pressure. We have already discovered that the lowest-paid in our society, grocery clerks, stockers, delivery people, health professionals, and food preparation folks are the most important when a country is brought to its knees in a pandemic. Suddenly these people are heroes, not because of a change in what they do, but because they are risking illness and death to do it. Yet, that is not right because almost all of them have no choice. A hero must have a choice. So what do we call these people to begin recognizing their value and also their sacrifices?
These are workers who are far more critical than our social and economic system will allow. That is now visible as a significant cultural and political mistake in our old socioeconomic paradigm. This mistake must be corrected but requires a tectonic shift to achieve that correction. Why did we not see this before? And what does it tell us about those in our societies who refuse to recognize and act on this new realization?
The groupings are not racial or ethnic except in the fact that certain ethnicities and economic groups have had their freedoms traditionally removed, forcing them to work in unacceptable ways that must now change. Our ignorance of this is a stunning embarrassment leading to the awkward struggle to redefine these people as heroes. We realize that we are dependent on these jobs and the people in them but allowed ourselves to ignore their oppression and abuse. That is our crime.
These initial epiphanies are just the beginning, and the sudden revelations of misunderstanding and the human implications of our system’s failures that have been destroying people for decades will build quickly. We have months of expanded time to think of these as we wait out the waves of COVID-19 and the overlap of regular seasonal flu this fall. At the same time, the pieces of our world will continue to pile up, requiring removal. That will provide lots of time for thought and guilt.
Sudden panicked demands to ‘reopen’ society in total defiance of epidemiology and public health scientific standards shows the old rulers realization that they have lost control. The refusal of a larger percentage of the population to fall for this scam is a testament to the transformative nature of these events.
While this will be endlessly challenging and depressing at the loss of sweet privileges, when the world changes, the bills come due. We will all pay while those who work to ignore these changes will pay at a higher price in suffering and death. There is no irony or satisfaction in this as the process of viral pandemics work to their final level of herd immunity.
It is clear that the forces of the old order are struggling to enslave everyone again and will insist that those who have already paid too much must unquestioningly offer themselves for sacrifice. We must stop that and ensure that it cannot happen again. We must give to make that up in the new balance sheet of our lives. Once you know your guilt, there is no forgetting. The bill never goes away.
Those who continue to ignore reality are a constant threat. These people need to be removed from authority and prevented from ever gaining power again. We need to find ways to determine how this can humanely happen.
The power of these realizations is already apparent. Efforts by weak political leaders under the influence of the old rules demanding a mindless return to normal with none of the required changes for health and welfare are just delayed tragedy. The great mass of the people is and will ignore these orders if they can. We need to ensure that they can ignore these criminal acts in the future.
Restarting a grotesquely broken system that is already responsible for mass death cannot be done without massive change and a new direction. Any, even moderately aware, and moral person will refuse to cooperate with such an act. We already see this happening. The puppets and stooges of the old system must reverse their insane demands and acknowledge that their power is disappearing. Their ignorance and open incompetence, alone, has destroyed any reason to listen to them.
A fantastic change is the sudden recognition of the nonsense long presented as fact. We have the resources, technology, and means to stop the failed and dangerous systems that could not protect the population from long known and projected disasters. SARS CoV-2 was not a Black Swan event, those are entirely unknown and unanticipated, but this pandemic was a standard White Swan that was ignored because of incompetence.
As we learn to see these structural errors over the next weeks, months, and years, the critical need for change will become imperative. We must act to make the essential changes because these events and pandemics will continue. They are being more clearly understood as an integral part of our destruction of the planet. Population, mindless resource exploitation, and destruction of species diversity bring remote and long hidden disease into the misery steadily increasing as our planet warms.
Growing pandemics are the brutal lessons from our climate crisis. These pandemics were not created by people but are species hopping forms that we can potentially control but cannot ignore. Add it to our list of self-destructive crimes.